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2022 Summer Movie Guide

One of the most anticipated movies this summer is 'Where the Crawdads Sing.'

By Jeffrey Sanzel

A year ago, studios wondered whether there would be a “return to normal.” The summer of 2021 straddled a mix of theatre attendance and residual streaming. Delays in various releases continued through the fall and into the winter and spring. This summer, the options seem to reflect the pre-pandemic era. 


Elvis is one of the most anticipated films. Directed by Baz Luhrman (from a screenplay by Luhrman and others), the biopic focuses on Presley (Austin Butler), from his early career to his iconic rise. Much of the story chronicles his complex relationship with Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). Lurhman is noted for his non-traditional approaches (as evidenced in his Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, and The Great Gatsby), so his take will most likely reflect his unique style. Rated PG-13 · Release date June 24

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions: The Rise of Gru offers a sequel to a spinoff. Minions (2015) followed Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). The second film is in the wake of Despicable Me 3 (2017). For the franchise fans, the story picks up after the events in Minions, with twelve-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) striving to join the supervillains known as the Vicious 6. Rated PG · Release date July 1

Thor: Love and Thunder

For those craving the most traditional summer fare, there is Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8), the sequel to Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct. Taika Waititi directs Chris Hemsworth in the title role. The film also stars Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. Rated PG-13 · Release date July  8

Where the Crawdads Sing

Delia Owens’ bestseller 2018 Where the Crawdads Sing reaches the big screen with Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, a self-raised girl from the marshlands of North Carolina who becomes the prime suspect in a murky murder case. One of the most popular novels in the last ten years, this tale of secrets hidden and revealed is one of the more serious offerings. Not Yet Rated  · Release date July 15

The Gray Man

For those looking for action thrillers, The Gray Man offers the CIA’s most skilled mercenary (Ryan Gosling), uncovering dark, incriminating secrets about the organization. Chris Evans plays a psychopathic former colleague assigned to hunt him down. Produced and directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, The Gray Man hopes to be the first of a franchise based on Mark Greaney’s Gray Man novels. Rated PG-13 · Release date July 15 


One of the more intriguing releases is Nope (July 22). Residents of an isolated town in California, including ranch owners James and Jill Haywood (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer), witness a mysterious and abnormal event. This science-fiction horror film is written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele, whose brilliant and distinctive style always informs his work, including the highly effective Get Out and UsRated R · Release date July 22

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Equally as interesting is Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, a live-action/stop motion-animated mockumentary that trails the titular character (voiced by Jenny Slate) who embarks on a journey to locate his family. Rated PG · Release date July 24

The Black Phone

No summer is complete without the usual dose of horror. The Black Phone (June 24) reunites Ethan Hawke with Scott Derrickson, his director from Sinister (2012). Here, a kidnapped boy trapped in a basement realizes he can communicate with this captor’s previous victims. Rated R · Release date July 24

Bullet Train

Bullet Train is a hybrid action comedy/thriller based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle. Brad Pitt heads an ensemble cast as trained killer Ladybug (Pitt), who wants to give up the life but is pulled back in by his handler (Sandra Bullock). On a train from Tokyo to Kyoto, competing assassins discover they are after the same briefcase. (There has been some backlash on the film’s casting, with two of the novel’s main characters becoming non-Asian.) Rated R · Release date July 29

DC League of Super-Pets

The family-friendly DC League of Super-Pets is an animated adventure with Superman’s dog, Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), organizing shelter pets who have special powers to free the Justice League, which mastermind Lex Luthor has captured. Rated PG · Release date July 29

Bodies Bodies Bodies

The satirical slasher Bodies Bodies Bodies (August 5) sees a group of friends gathering for a house party to play a murder mystery game, only to discover an actual murder has taken place, and they must now play the game for real. Rated R · Release date August 5


In Samaritan, a young boy (Javon Walton) realizes that a famed superhero, who was thought to have gone missing, may still be around. The film also stars Sylvester Stallone. Rated  PG-13 · Release date August 26

3000 Years of Longing

There is a surprising dearth of fantasy, with Three Thousand Years of Longing being one of the few. Adapting and directing A.S. Byatt’s short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, George Miller returns after a seven-year hiatus. The epic romantic fantasy chronicles a woman (Tilda Swinton) who encounters a djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Rated R · Release date August 31

Clearly, this summer hosts a variety of choices for all filmgoers. 

*This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Summer Times supplement.